Both of the following photos were taken without flash:
- Photo A: Camera: Nikon D3s, Shutter Priority Mode, Shutter speed: 1/2000s, Aperture: f/5.6, ISO 2000, Matrix metering, Spot focus, Auto-focus Continuous. Lens: Nikon 200- 400mm f/4, focal length 400mm. On tripod.
Photo B: Camera: Nikon D3s, Manual Mode, Aperture: f/4, Shutter speed: 1/1250s, ISO 1600, Spot metering, Spot focus, Auto-focus Continuous. Lens: Sigma 180mm Macro f/3.5. On monopod.
- Shutter speed is the most important setting when photographing hummingbirds in natural light. To freeze the wings in mid-air, set your shutter speed to approximately 1/2000s. If the hummingbird is sitting on a branch, set your shutter speed to approximately 1/1000s.
- Set Exposure Mode to Shutter Priority, so that you will be able to control the shutter speed and the camera will automatically set the aperture.
- When shutter speed is set to 1/2000s or 1/1000s, it is necessary to increase the ISO to ensure a good exposure. Set the ISO to approximately 2000.
- Matrix metering (aka Evaluative Metering) works well for hummingbirds in flight. Spot metering works better when the hummingbird is perched in a tree.
The following photo is of a broad-tailed hummingbird, photographed using multiple flash units.
- Camera: Nikon D3s, Manual Mode, Aperture: f/20, Shutter speed: 1/250s, ISO 320, Matrix metering, Spot Focus, Auto Focus-Continuous. Lens: Nikon 200mm Macro f/4. On trip od.
- Flash: 5 Vivitar 285s set to 1/16th power. 4 of the 5 flash were aimed at illuminating the hummingbird feeder, 1 of the 5 flash was aimed at a background photograph.
- Set the Exposure Mode to Manual, so that you can control both shutter speed and aperture. Set the shutter speed to synchronize with the flash, either 1/200s or 1/250s.
- Set aperture to approximately f/20 and ISO to approximately 200.
- Matrix metering works well.
- Requires more preparation, but the results are AMAZING!